Saturday, June 9, 2012


As a writer, you're hopefully a fountain of ideas. Everything around you is an influence, from the people you meet, the places you travel, the entertainment that you enjoy and are inspired from, and the music you listen to. Sure you'll run into the dreaded "writer's block" or have downtime between assignments. But if anything, your brain should always be thinking of that next idea. There should be no off switch. And it's probably what makes those in the writing profession tough to be around. We're constantly in our heads, sometimes preferring to be alone (artists of course fall into this category as well), and maybe even struggle shutting off our brains for the simple act of recharging our bodies through sleep. Or maybe I'm just using this blog as therapy, explaining my own quirks and struggles. There's been plenty of times where I've gone to bed, still deep in thought as ideas start flooding my mind as I lie awake in the dark, and I'll just have to get back up and start writing them down. Never a moment to waste as a writer. There's always going to be another idea ready to pounce on you and not leave you alone.

So it's a constant joke amongst a good friend of mine. We'll brainstorm and think up stories and characters and moments. Grandiose ideas and enthralling epic stories full of adventure, love, loss, revenge…you name it. And when we've gotten to the end of the conversation, having discussed all the ins and outs. Having formulated a plan of action or hoping on a dream yet unfulfilled. We'll just look at one another, make the gesture of opening up a drawer, and put that idea into the folder, and close it shut. Maybe we'll come back to it later or maybe never again. We laugh and we move on.

So what's this mythical folder I'm talking about? Have any other creative types out there experienced the same thing?

I've learned to become an idea hoarder. No good (or even bad) idea going to waste. Just because you can't tell your story now, doesn't mean it needs to be thrown away or abandoned. I just file it away in my mind, or better yet, into an actual folder on my desktop. And from time to time I come back to it. A little tweak here, a big rewrite there, and keep chipping away at it, nursing it along. Even a bad or dismissed idea can have a fresh set of eyes look upon it later and make it better. Because there might be a time when I can use it. And then I'll have it ready to go. Or it can all be thrown out and I come up with something entirely new. But that's the fun of it. It can switch on a dime.

I'd say the majority of stories I currently write, are very much developed in the moment. There's a certain need from a company for certain characters to have a story told. Or a certain approach. And boom…the fountain of ideas flows. But every now and then, I'll have that opening. Something will magically click, and an idea I've had in the folder of my mind, gets a chance to be dusted off and used. And that's always fun. At one time, it very well could've been thrown away forever. But now you get to share it with the world. And it feels right.


  1. Ha! My folder has become a filing cabinet! But it has got to be a great feeling getting a chance to get those stories out into the world. It brings to mind a play on the Emily Dickinson line, "A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day."

  2. Great quote. And that other one that a certain Da Vinci said: "Art is never finished, only abandoned."